Word of the Day 

Oddly enough, today's word perfectly describes my mood today. We drove to Iowa City for the University of Iowa cultural festival. It was good as far as college festivals go. Ate a few egg-rolls, some baklava, and had a can of Coca-cola. My first coke product in a loooong time. And a sno-cone. I had a sno-cone.

The Asst. Prof. of German from our college was extremely amused by my extremely happy mood due to the ethnic foods and overall environment cultural festivals offer. Plus, it gave us a chance to get off campus.

Today, at the cultural festival, I was very effusive!

effusive \ih-FYOO-siv\ adjective

*1 : marked by the expression of great or excessive emotion or enthusiasm
2 : characterized or formed by a nonexplosive outpouring of lava

Example sentence:
Although he acted a little embarrassed, Jason was probably delighted with the effusive compliments heaped on him when he was awarded the poetry prize.

Did you know?
We've used "effusive" in English to describe excessive outpourings since at least 1662. In the 1800s, geologists adopted the specific sense related to flowing lava — or to hardened rock formed from flowing lava. "Effusive" can be traced to the Latin verb "effundere" ("to pour out"), which itself comes from "fundere" ("to pour") plus a modification of the prefix "ex-" ("out"). Our verb "effuse" has the same Latin ancestors. A person effuses when he or she speaks effusively. Liquids effuse as well (as in "blood effusing from a wound"). There is also the verb "effund," which is synonymous with the liquid-flowing sense of "effuse," but it is archaic.


Scrabble it up! 

Today was the Alpha Nu Scrabble tournament. I came in second in the group I was playing in, and I learned a few valuable lessons:

*Don't attempt to play scrabble with a Professor from the English department. They know things you don't.

*There is an actual Scrabble dictionary. It costs only $5.99. It has eliminated excess that usual dictionaries have, and is also helpful when considering the amount of certain letters available to you. Can we say "Christmas List?"

*Juicy Juice products, though they may claim to give energy, do nothing to spur the creative process of the brain, other than to drink as many of them as you can in order to build a Juicy Juice juicebox pyramid.

The Scrabble site also has a word builder -- very helpful... Considering I didn't know about it before. It's a good game. Addictive. But good.

Word of the Day 

The word of the day is "baksheesh."

We hear a lot of professors joking about bribes in this neck of the woods. I guess it's funny because you know they're not serious. Or are they?

Two nights ago one friend attempted to baksheesh me into throwing an orange at the back of another friend's head. I didn't do it, I'm glad to say. I don't think I would have hit him.

And don't think you're ever ever obligated to leave baksheesh for a waiter who was mean and nasty, and generally has a bad aura around them. Auras tell you everything! But really, cut the baksheesh down a few percent if the waiter acts up and neglects you. Teach them a lesson.

baksheesh \BAK-sheesh\ noun

: payment (as a tip or bribe) to expedite service

Example sentence:
The baksheesh that Uncle Jim slipped the maitre d' magically got us the next available table, vanishing the hour-long wait.

Did you know?
"Baksheesh" came into the English language around 1760 and was most likely picked up by British subjects as they traveled abroad. In Asia, English speakers would have heard "baksheesh" used as a word for "gratuity, a present of money, tip" — a meaning they directly adopted. Etymologically speaking, "baksheesh" is from Persian "bakhsh?sh," which is also the source of the word "buckshee," meaning "something extra obtained free," "extra rations," or "windfall, gratuity." "Buckshee" is strictly a British English term and is not used in American English. Like "baksheesh," it too is dated circa 1760.


The New Generation 

Ended up going to the "Recycled Percussion" concert tonight. I hadn't been planning on it, but it was free, and at dinner folk were using "Recycled Percussion" and "Stomp" in the same sentences, so I decided "Why not?" and went.

It was actually quite good. I enjoyed myself. Reminded me of WDL days, even though I never touched a drum other than to carry it around. And the time I jacked my hand onto the top rod of a high-hat cymbal (I know it's not a drum, but this is my Blog, so HAH!). That left a nasty swollen bruise roughly the size of a half-dollar, and made playing bass guitar a bit harder for the evening because I had hit in the center of the top of my hand. All ligaments meet there, as far as the pain was considered.

Back to "Recycled Percussion" -- they're like the new generation of "Stomp". I never got to see "Stomp", and granted, "Recycled Percussion" didn't use doors (all four of them are drummers), but it was high-energy. It's nice to see musicians really into what they're doing.

Word of the Day 

The word of the day is cachinnate. This is a good one.

Unfortunately for me I know too many people who cachinnate. Most of them live on my floor. Late into the night (or into the morning) they cachinnate, without taking into consideration the fact that, holy crap, people might be sleeping because it's 1-2 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I can't understand how they can possibly think that it's a cute, much less pleasant, sound. To prepare next the school year, I'm asking for a bullhorn or a fog horn for my birthday.

Another annoying thing are the people who, when in public places, laugh much too loudly for their own good. They draw attention to themselves, and are immediately labeled as disturbances to the general peace. The sound they make is akin to someone having throat spasms while trying to recite the English alphabet. Or a forced laugh that tries to say "I meant to mess my pants. I swear!

Random note: I am, by the way, rather tired.

Bring it on, cachinnators, bring it on.

cachinnate \KAK-uh-nayt\ verb

: to laugh loudly or immoderately

Example sentence:
"He looked in at the door and snickered, then in at the window, then peeked down from between the rafters and cachinnated till his sides must have ached." (John Burroughs, "A Bed of Boughs")

Did you know?
"Cachinnate" has been whooping it up in English since the 19th century. The word derives from the Latin verb "cachinnare," meaning "to laugh loudly," and "cachinnare" was probably coined in imitation of a loud laugh. As such, "cachinnare" is much like the Old English "ceahhetan," the Old High German "kachazzen," and the Greek "kachazein" ? all words of imitative origin that essentially meant "to laugh loudly." Our word "cackle" has a different ancestor than any of these words (the Middle English "cakelen"), but this word, too, is believed to have been modeled after the sound of laughter.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


Do As Infinity 

I know nothing about this band past the names of the members (Tomiko Van, Ryo Owatari, and Dai Nagao) and where they're from (Japan). I know how I'd classify their music (pop-rock) and how their style is listed (J-pop). I can find site upon site about them (but I don't read Japanese).

The only other thing I know is that they're AMAZING. The only other Asian band I've listened to is Cibo Matto -- and they sing in English. D.A.I. doesn't.

I've always been fascinated by foreign languages and European groups -- I'm glad my scope has expanded a little. This band, like I said, is amazing. I stumbled across their stuff while looking for the people who sing the theme songs for shows like "InuYasha" and "Cowboy Bebop."

And I'm glad I did.

They have two "official" sites, but seeing as I can't understand 98% of what's written in them, it doesn't matter to me which one is the official official site.

The first site and the second site.

Any body know of a site for them that's in English? Or Latvian? Or German?


Bought a Pepsi today from the same machine I bought the Pepsi's that got me the two free songs.

Today's Pepsi bottle, however, is one of the NFL Caps for Caps caps. The game ended 12/31/03, and the bottle is "best if consumed" by three days ago (2/23/04). Another old bottle. This one I'll drink, though, because unlike the last old Pepsi I ended up buying, this one isn't four months expired.

What gets me, is that the top button responded with a scrolling "Sold Out" last time I tried buying a Pepsi. At that time the machine was still spitting out iTunes capped Pepsi's. So they're basically filling the machine with old Pepsi. Jerks. I don't even have the hope of finding a matching Caps For Caps cap. Even if I did, there would be no point. The game is over. OVER.

How will I ever withstand the social ridicule I will now suffer because I won't have an officially liscenced NFL team hat of my choice? All the other kids will laugh at me.

I'm ruined.

On the plus side, several days ago I discovered Emotion Eric. It's a stress reliever to see this guy in action. When I saw "Final seconds before fatal epileptic seizure" I started to choke on air. Some of the emotions are actually conveyed quite badly, but he makes up for those by interpreting some "emotion requests" in his own special way. Check it out and laugh with us. Me -- I meant me. I swear, sometimes those voices drive me insane...


Dead Arm 

Tuesdays are orchestra days. During the mid-[two]hour break my stand partner threatened to "dead arm" me. This means she would let all of the muscles in her arm go slack before whipping her arm around to hit me. Apparently it's supposed to hurt pretty bad, too. I'm glad to say I haven't experienced the pain that is being "dead armed."

However, this phrase intrigued me. So naturally, I looked it up. Turns out, "dead arm" is not only a condition common in "young people" who suffer from tendonitis, but it is also a disease in grape vines first discovered in France, 1999.

So if someone threatens to "dead arm" you and you wish to know how much damage you might suffer, ask them if they plan on thrashing you with diseased and wilted grape vines, or with a slack arm. You just might save yourself some unnecessary panic.


Do short people REALLY got no reason to live? 

James Lileks. Minnesotan. Genius.

I haven't read one of his columns in a long time -- one I can remember distinctly is about a pager on buzz being like a vibrating gerbil in your pocket.

Yesterday's column was about short people. Turns out Mr. Lileks is only 5'4''. I'm only an inch shorter than him. So I feel the pain he speaks of. Or, rather, writes of.

His columns are funny and somewhat informative. Okay, so barely -- they're mostly for entertainment purposes, and they do wonders for a bad mood.

Yesterday's column reminded me of the Randy Newman song, "Short People", which goes on to say how we've got no reason to live, and how our hands and feet are really little. My hands are normal, as are my feet, thankyouverymuch.

But now I have Randy's song stuck in my head, leaving my heart full of loathing.

Word of the Day 

Today's word of the day is "bellwether."

I don't think I'm going to put every word of the day up here, because it's too tasking. But now and then, if something interesting shows up, or if something that can be applied to my life, or to the standard person's life in general, bet your buttons it will be posted.

Moving on -- "bellwether", indicator of trends. That's the portion of the sentence that sticks out to me. Everything in today's world can be considered a trend, or used to start a trend. One that bothers me the most, is how (although the fad is finally petering out) people considered "punk" to be a trend. A style. Spiked belts, hot pink and black fabrics put side by side, sometimes in plaid patterns. Avril freaking Lavigne. She was fine until EVERY GIRL STARTED TO DRESS LIKE HER. Stupid tank tops with ties. Way to go. But then, what can you expect when you're famous and have a bad attitude?

I went to a Greenday concert a few years back, and was amazed at the amount of people dressed like "punks". Most of them were middle school girls who looked like they would never dress like that on a normal day. Why? Because Abercrombie doesn't come in those colors. Me? Hello, tshirt and regular jeans. Wow. So people thought punk was a style. Many people think Goth is a style -- which, if you want to get technical, actually is a style, originating from architecture in 13th century France (and others) which then probably transferred to a darker style of 'medieval' dress or something -- point being, it's more of a 'style' than punk is.

That is the point of punk, my friends. There IS no style. There IS no standard. It cannot be put on a hanger and priced to sell in a brand-name store. In a corny sense, it comes from the heart.

So be a bellwether and stop buying clothes because everyone else is doing it. But things for any reason OTHER than that.

Me? I think the majority of my clothing is from the GAP or its buddies, Banana Republic (only from the outlet store!!) and Old Navy (also only from the outlet store), but not because it's brand name. They're comfortable and durable clothes. If Target or WalMart made such clothes, I'd be best friends with the evil smiley face thing that cuts prices. And I know all too well what it is to "be an emo kid."

My ex-roommate's boyfriend thought I was "punk" or "alternative." Do I consider myself that? No. Or at least, not entirely. But maybe it's all how others see you, and not what you see yourself. After all, in the end, what do you care what they think? You have fun socks on.

"You listen to punk rock music, and your favorite T.V. show is BBC's "Changing Rooms". What's wrong with that picture?"
--my dad a few years ago

bellwether \BEL-WEH-ther ("th" as in "this")\ noun

: one that takes the lead or initiative : leader; also : an indicator of trends

Example sentence:
Always the fashion bellwether of the class, Mike started wearing khaki pants to school while other boys were still wearing jeans.

Did you know?
We usually think of sheep more as followers than leaders, but in a flock one sheep must lead the way. Long ago, it was common practice for shepherds to hang a bell around the neck of one sheep in their flock, thereby designating it the lead sheep. This animal was called the "bellwether," a word formed by a combination of the Middle English words "belle" (meaning "bell") and "wether" (a noun that refers to a male sheep that has been castrated). It eventually followed that "bellwether" would come to refer to someone who takes initiative or who actively establishes a trend that is taken up by others. This usage first appeared in English in the 13th century.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


"I've got a golden tiiiicket" 

So after choking down 4 bottles of Pepsi I got a bottle cap that said I won a free song. Finally. I realize that I wasted money, but it's one of those things you feel like you have to do. I'm an Apple fiend. I also wanted to experience the process of a winning cap.

It was a bit annoying, to my surprise. I didn't have to download iTunes since I already have it, but I did have to register for an Apple account, which kind of pissed me off. Mostly because I just wanted my "free" song, and here I was typing in personal information. There weren't any consequences, but it was just a little roadblock.

So if you don't have iTunes and you win, be prepared to download the program. Then wait while it connects to the music store. Then register to Apple through Apple or AOL. Then choose what song you want from the seemingly endless amount of choices. There are, mind you, groups or songs the iTunes store doesn't have, but they've prepared a little section in which you can make a request of an artist or a song.

I requested Coheed & Cambria, Pur, and Die Prinzen.

And in case you care, I ended up downloading Phantom Planet's "Dying in Silence."

So have fun and drink Pepsi. I kind of wish Coca-cola had done this, because I'd much rather drink large amounts of their carbonated goodness than Pepsi's.

Update: Sunday evening I won yet another free song. As my father pointed out in his comment, there is this site that shows a way around purchasing dud bottles of Pepsi. Unfortunately for me, I bought all bottles from a machine, making it impossible to check them. A friend did, however, mention the 25º thing, but I didn't believe him. I guess I was wrong. My apologies for doubting you! And kudos to dad for proving me wrong (kas jau biezi notiekas)!


Word of the Day 

The word of the day is "hypnagogic."

As sad as it may seem, I'm subscribed to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary "Word of the Day" list. It's good fun, though.

Today's word, hypnagogic, seemed extremely appropriate for a collegiate life. I myself have taken many naps in the middle of the day (many times before meals) and have come to meals rosy-cheeked and drowsy-happy. I often described this feeling to friends, who agree because they are also accustomed to the grogginess following a good mid-day nap. It's a warm and happy time when everything in the world is right.

Here's the text from the email about hypnagogic:

hypnagogic \hip-nuh-GAH-jik\ adjective

: of, relating to, or occurring in the period of drowsiness immediately preceding sleep

Example sentence:
In her hypnagogic state, Edith wondered why the flight attendant was telling her to buckle her seat belt in church (or so she thought).

Did you know?
"The hypnagogic state is that heady lull between wakefulness and sleep when thoughts and images flutter, melt, and transform into wild things," wrote Boston Globe correspondent Cate McQuaid (October 1, 1998). Scientists attribute many alien-abduction stories to this state, but for most people these "half-dreams" are entirely innocuous. Perhaps the most famous hypnagogic dream is that of the German chemist Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz, who was inspired with the concept of the benzene ring by a vision of a snake biting its own tail. You're not dreaming if the Greek root "hypn-," meaning "sleep," seems familiar — you've seen it in "hypnotize." The root "-agogic" is from the Greek "-ag?gos," meaning "inducing," from "agein" meaning "to lead." We borrowed "hypnagogic" (also spelled "hypnogogic") from French "hypnagogique" in the late 19th century.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


Sore Ass 

So Dean dropped out. Whaddaya say to that? I know many of my fellow students here will be sorely dissapointed, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm also glad Dean reiterated the fact that "we need to beat George Bush...", just in case we forgot why we were all here. "No longer actively campaigning." An interesting phrase. So passively campaigning, then? Secretly leave little business cards with "STILL Dean for Pres." on them all over the country? I wonder if he's a sore loser...

I think Dean's tendency to say exactly what he was thinking was a good thing, until the trait started sucker-punching him in the recoil. True, he was honest. But honestly? The man needed to think over the things he said before he said them.

I know -- I'm being vague. Truth is, I've only had minimal Dean-exposure. I received an email listing some things he said that should have earned him a Captain Obvious! cape. That's one thing. The other thing is that I watched one of the first debates, when all of the candidates were still in the running. What I saw was the Rev. A. Sharpton stealing the show with his message and antics, while Dean stood with that dumb-struck look on his face. I was sure that Sharpton was on an interuption streak against Dean (otherwise the cameras wouldn't have been volleying between the two). But what I wasn't sure of was if Dean was trying to smile in an effor to shrug off the Reverend's comments, or if he had soiled himself and was trying to ignore it.

A few days back a friend of mine glanced at the T.V., then did a double-take, and said Howard Dean looked like a donkey. I have to disagree.

He looks like a sad donkey.

The real Marty Feldman 

My dad mentioned that I my pulled muscle story reminded him of Marty Feldman. Funny thing is, a friend and I were joking about that on the way to the coffee shop. "Wasn't your hump...on the...other side?" "What hump?" and of course "Froh-drick Frahnkenshteen" and "Eye-gore." This post is basically to let my dad know in post format that the "Young Frankenstein" humor of my situation did not go unnoticed.

For those of you who don't know who Marty Feldman is...

...and for those of you unfamiliar with the movie Young Frankenstein.


Silly French 

I was given this link by a friend. It takes a while to load, but it's fascinating...

...Fascinating how much time some people have on their hands.

here's the crazy man.

Stretch before you bend 

This morning before heading out to my usual Tuesday morning coffee shop and scrabble session, I bent over to pick up one of my sneakers. A completely normal activity, you say? Oh, yes, indeed it is -- a completely normal activity gone terribly wrong...

In the process of trying to get my shoe, I ended up pulling a muscle in near the top of my back and base of my neck. Excruciating pain. So turning my head in any direction became a big 'no', as did most things involving bringing my elbows above belly button level. Wonderful. Campus nurse gave me a cold/hot pack which then sat on my shoulder under my jacket like a hump. How trying it is on your self-confidence when you walk across a busy campus with a hump on your back. Although I do admit I dragged my leg for a while and squinted one eye for effect. Crossing the main street to get to the coffee shop was interesting as well. Rows of cars with their drivers staring you down because OHMYGOD the college students are deformed and escaping into the real world. We're like zombies, only smarter.

On to my point. I can't seem to find a statistic anywhere for how many people a day pull a muscle. Truthfully, I can't find any statistic. But what I did find was a few sites explaining what a pulled muscle really is, and what muscle is most commonly pulled.

That would be the hamstring. Funny. I've never pulled that one.

Also, according to this site (which, I admit, looks poorly-informed -- probably because the site layout is so desolate), one should thoroughly stretch and warm up before doing anything where a muscle could be potentially pulled.

Which means for tomorrow I will have to remember to warm up properly before attempting to put on my freaking shoes.

Here's the site: www.heliohealth.com


Family Guy, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... 

No actual counting, I'm sad to say, but [adult swim] is on Cartoon Network right now, and so is Family Guy.

I'm among the people who have heard the viewers-lose-Family-Guy, viewers-get-Family-Guy, viewers-lose-Family-Guy rumors. Turns out season three was never cancelled, it was just delayed. But then it WAS cancelled. But now it's probably going to come back.* This makes me happy. Very, very happy.

Basically, type "Why was Family Guy cancelled?" in www.google.com and you'll find a number of sites that can quell or feed your fears. I found this one to be tasty enough to satisfy my hunger for now:

www.tvtome.com post

*I'll leave my response to a comment here: When I used the pronoun "it" I was referring to the show "Family Guy", not season three. Notice how two sentences before I said season three was delayed. Implying it was aired. But then cancelled. Hope that clears up any confusion or misread paragraphs.

The Girl 

Discussed with my dad the possibilities of the girl in the Pepsi commercial being one of the actual kids who was sued by the RIAA, and how she would have been paid quite well to appear in the commercial. Did a google search and behold: results! www.ipodgarage.com had the sought after information.

14 year old Annie Leith is "the girl", and she is only one of many kids (some as young as 12) to be sued. Bill Palmer, the guy who runs www.ipodgarage.com, has follow-up entries to this one. I haven't really looked for other sources to do follow-up checks, but I have some ideas if needed.

Anyway, I now know more about "the girl", and life can go on again.

1.: www.ipodgarage.com post

2.: www.usatoday.com post


Pepsi and iTunes 

Right. So www.apple.com is hosting that Pepsi 100 million song download give away through iTunes. Since I don't fancy football, I made sure to miss the Superbowl, and missed the commercials in the process. But I checked out the commercial (link below) Apple + Pepsi aired, and found it somewhat amusing. I always have to grin when I see any commercial or skit done to poke fun at the music download scandal of the world. I'm interested in knowing whether or not this girl in the commercial really IS one of the charged. Wouldn't be surprised. Added props to Apple for using a Green Day song.

I also see the commercials in movie theaters -- the ones where "behind the scenes" workers of movies are interviewed to get their point of view on piracy. One of my favorite ones was where an older man (who, I believe, was head of the scene shop for some movie) ends his interview saying something like, "...all the hard work we put into the movie is just wasted by one click of a mouse when someone rips the movie off the internet. It's wrong what they're doing."

Personally, I don't think that the people who are doing the downloading should be blamed to the extent that they are. True, what they're doing is not legit, but they weren't the ones who uploaded the songs into a file-sharing server. They weren't the ones in the movie theaters with the video cameras bootlegging the movie and then putting it on a file-sharing server. Those are the people the "system" should REALLY crack down on. But I guess... those who download are easier to trace and hunt down, right?

If you can't reach the jugular, aim for the tender parts.

Here is the commercial: "I Fought the Law"

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